2.07.2014

A letter from Natalie

 
I have been a fan-follower of Natalie's blog for a couple years, because her love for Christ fills her writings with passion, missions, sincerity, & beauty.  Each time I visit her posts I find a kindred spirit in her appreciation for Scripture or her great taste in music, food, books, candles, everything.  You shouldn't miss her other writings on singleness, nor her excellent series of encouragement/resources for deeply studying the Word.
 
I have to be honest, but when Jen first reached out to me to write on being single, I was a little boggled. Why? Because currently, I don't feel like I do the whole Christian singleness thing well. At. All.
 
Time flies by, and it's as if I turned around and now all my friends are sporting sparkly rocks on their left hands or cuing me in on the pending proposal that could happen at any time now. My best friend  came home a couple months ago to share with me her news, and the first words out of my mouth were not "Congratulations!" No, I'm pretty sure my face looked rather dumbfounded. Not a horrible dumbfoundedness, just a I-wasn't- expecting-this-for-whatever-reason-even-though-it's-totally-logical-dumbfoundedness. And I said, verbatim, "Can you pass that bottle of wine?" (I'm pretty sure she forgave me.)
 
Please don't misunderstand, I'm happy and excited for all of them, for this new journey and blessing, but it's also a strong twisting of my heart with each new, subsequent announcement. Here's what I mean when I say I'm not doing this well; here's what's really behind that statement:
 
It wrenches my heart because it stirs up my perceived and felt lack: It's funny how when what you desire most, is seemingly what everyone else around you is experiencing in full-fledge abundance. It's almost as if you're walking around with a magnified glass glued to your eyeballs and all you see is what everyone else has… and what you don't. I've heard women who've struggled with infertility talk like this before; all they see is a sea of robust bellies harboring life, then they look down only to see their flat abdomens and the sinking feeling of want and longing enter: barrenness. Sometimes barrenness doesn't look like Hannah in scripture sobbing over her desire for a child. Sometimes barrenness looks like the young woman who works all day and goes home to empty rooms where she sits in front of Hulu eating Chinese takeout, then falls asleep alone.
 
To be honest, I'm discouraged. I wrestle with God if marriage would even be a good thing for me for a laundry list of reasons… majority of which are only grounded in fear. I struggle to remain hopeful about any of it. It's hard to muster excitement over color swatches of bridesmaids dresses, or another dream wedding pinboard. And yes, there are some friends I'd like to stop following on all the social media sites because it's all best boyfriend/husband EVER in my face. So now… now I'm supposed to offer up to you, the single lady sitting across from me if we were in a coffee shop, something hopeful. Some sound advice or wisdom. A part of me feels I have none of that for you, because I'm in the same place that some of you are in as well.
 
But maybe that's what you need. Maybe you're like me, and there are times when you just don't want more advice. You don't want anymore cliches, especially those whispered under the breath of the girl who's got a godly man at her side (as much as it's well intended). You just want to know that you're not alone, because it does get extremely lonely at times. And your cat (bless your heart) can't talk back to you. But I can, and so does God. So here's what I want to say…
 
Let's acknowledge that this is hard. Let's acknowledge that this involves wrestling with God, which is actually a pretty good thing. Let's not bite the bait, the lies that Satan throws at us singles. And even though we're going to have bad days-the days we see one too many floral arrangements, which then leads to an evening of sobbing, praying, and questioning-let's try not to grow bitter. Let's give ourselves grace.
 
Finally, let's trust God. He is good and He knows each one of us so intimately and fully. There's not a single desire lingering in our heart He is unaware of. If we believe as Christians the God is good, and is for us, not against us, then when He gives us a longer season of singleness, then that is a gift. He sees you and I and says, "I am all knowing dear one. And beloved daughter, this is the BEST for you right now."  On those harder days we need to remember these words, penned by Charles Spurgeon: "If you can't see His way past the tears, trust His heart."